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Blackmailed into promoting pulses

You really have to know someone to get a recipe in Grainews, so I decided this blog was a good place to post a recipe and also promote the International Year of Pulses too.

The recipe below is called Wheatberry and Lentil Salad. It was one that was featured during presentations at the recent Farm Tech Conference in Edmonton. I saw this line up of people for free food samples (I am a sucker for those – I could graze all day at Costco) so I queued up as well.

People line up for salad sample.

I missed the full presentation, but dishing up recipe samples was long-time work colleague Simone Demers Collins, a home economist, who is currently educating the world on the health benefits of canola oil for the Alberta Canola Commission. She said I could get a picture as long as I promoted pulses, canola oil and healthy eating. So here we go. I never mind promoting food.

If you haven’t heard already, 2016 has been proclaimed by the United Nations as the International Year of Pulses. (I had to look it up, but pulse comes from a Latin word puls, meaning thick soup.) It’s all about promoting the health benefits of this high protein legume crop, and also will help increase consumer demand for the peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas, at least in the Western World.

In Canada for example, about 60 per cent of Canadians are considered “light” pulse consumers – meaning they are consuming at least one type of pulse “less than once a month” to as much as “three times per month”. Beans are most popular, lentils least popular.

Another 20 per cent of Canadians are considered “moderate to heavy” consumers – eating at least “one type of pulse every week”.

Finally, about 20 per cent are considered “non-consumers” of pulses – meaning that “during the past six months they have not consumed any type of pulse at home or at a restaurant”.

Simone Demers Collins promoting Canadian food products.

So while people in many southern hemisphere countries such as South Asia, Africa, and Central and South America live on pulses (represent more than 10 per cent of their protein) we in Canada and North America are indeed slow learners. We grow the stuff, just don’t eat it much.

Now here is your chance to get started. This recipe with Wheatberries and Lentils developed by Canadian chef Marilyn Smith includes Canadian home grown products. (I had to ask about this too, wheatberries are just raw wheat kernels.) So try this out and start eating more pulses.

Wheatberry and Lentil Salad


Dressing (makes 6 Tbsp/90 mL)

  • 3 Tbsp (45 mL) canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) liquid honey
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) iodized salt
  • 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper


  • 3/4 cup (185 mL) wheat berries, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup (250 mL) cooked brown lentils or use canned lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup (250 mL) toasted walnut halves
  • 3 thinly sliced green onions
  • 1 large red-skinned apple, scrubbed well, cored and chopped


  1. In a small saucepan, cover wheat berries with 1 1/2 to 2 inches (4 to 5 cm) of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes. Drain and cool.
  2. Make the dressing in a small bowl; whisk together oil, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the wheat berries, lentils, walnuts, green onions and apple. Pour dressing over top and toss well. Serve.

Makes 5 1/2 cups (1.3 L), One serving = 3/4 cup (175 mL)

To toast walnuts, preheat oven to 350°F (180°C), spread out on a baking sheet and roast for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool; chop and set aside.

Lee Hart is a field editor for Grainews in Calgary, Contact him at 403-592-1964 or by email at [email protected]








About the author

Field Editor

Lee Hart

Lee Hart is editor of Cattleman’s Corner based in Calgary.



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